Resident Curator Program Implementation Study
The Program Implementation Study
An implementation study supporting the establishment of a Resident Curator Program (RCP) in Fairfax County is complete. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors directed Park Authority and Department of Planning and Zoning staff to work with the Fairfax County History Commission to evaluate how a RCP would work in the county. The county contracted with John Milner Associates, Inc. (JMA) to deliver a program implementation package identifying what it will take to execute and maintain a successful RCP in Fairfax County.
Resident curator programs identify publicly-owned historic properties with no immediate or practical public use and through an open and competitive process, select outside parties with skills, resources and vision to rehabilitate a property in accordance with accepted preservation standards for historic buildings. In exchange for rehabilitating the property, the curator gains use of the property and pays little or no rent.
A program in Fairfax County would potentially provide a fiscally responsible means to put many of the county’s historic properties back into use. Curators would be required to provide opportunities for the public to visit and tour the properties in order to appreciate and understand their historic and architectural significance. A RCP would contribute to the county’s stewardship mission of preserving and maintaining our historic resources while using a minimum of county fiscal resources.
A major part of the RCP study has been public engagement. Two initial public meetings were held in different areas of the county for the convenience of the citizens. At each meeting, and through our website, public input was solicited. In addition, a public review and comment period on the draft study document was held from July 8 through August 7, 2014.
In January 2011, the Virginia General Assembly enacted enabling legislation allowing local jurisdictions to establish a RCP. The legislation defines a resident curator as an entity that contracts with a locality to preserve and maintain a publicly-owned or publicly-leased historic property in exchange for gaining use of the property. Successful RCPs are in place in Delaware, Maryland, and Massachusetts. Fairfax County is the first Virginia locality to pursue establishing a RCP.
The state enabling legislation in Virginia indicates a property must be historic, as determined by the local jurisdiction. Fairfax County defines a historic site as being listed in, or eligible for listing in The Fairfax County Inventory of Historic Sites. Properties must meet a certain set of criteria to be considered eligible for listing in the Inventory, which is a catalog of historically significant sites as determined by the Fairfax County History Commission. Sites listed in the Inventory may be either privately or publically owned. For information on the Inventory, please see the Inventory website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dpz/historic/ihs/.
Included photos show properties in the New Castle, Delaware RCP.
New Castle County Delaware
Resident Curatorship Program
Ivyside Farm House
Woodstock Property at Banning Park